Vito G. Scotti(born January 26, 1918-died June 5, 1996) was an Italian-American character actor who was known for his appearance in The Godfather as Nazorine, as well as several appearances in television on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Addams Family. Vito appeared in two episodes The Golden Girls, first as Vincenzo in the Season 3 episode "Rose's Big Adventure", then as Dominic Bosco in the 4 episode titled "Foreign Exchange".
Life and career[edit | edit source]
Vito played many roles, primarily from the late 1930s to the mid-1990s on Broadway, films and later television. He was known as a man of a thousand faces, for his ability to assume so many divergent roles in more than 200 screen roles, in a career, spanning 50 years. He was known for his resourceful portrayals of various ethnic types. Born of Italian heritage, he was seen playing everything from a Mexican bandit, to a Russian doctor, to a Japanese sailor.
Born in San Francisco, Vito's family spent the 1920s in Naples, Italy, where Scotti developed his gift for farce, modeled after the Commedia dell'arte, a symbolic style of the Italian theatre.
In 1925, after the Scotti family returned to the United States, his mother became a diva in New York City theatre circles. Scotti worked the night club circuit as a stand-up magician and pantomime. He made his debut on Broadway in Pinoccio, where he played a small role. Scotti had transcended to movies and television by the late 1940s. He made his film debut, playing an uncredited role as a Mexican youth in Illegal Entry (1949), with Howard Duff and George Brent.
In 1963, Scotti was cast as the Italian farmer Vincenzo Perugia in the episode "The Tenth Mona Lisa" of the CBS anthology series, General Electric True, hosted by Jack Webb. In the episode, Perugia in 1911 steals the Mona Lisa from the Louvre Museum in Paris but is apprehended by a French detective when he attempts to unload the painting on an art dealer.
He also appeared in television series, such as How to Marry a Millionaire (as Jules in the 1958 episode "Loco and the Gambler"), The Rifleman (1959), State Trooper (1959), Sugarfoot (1959), The Texan (1959), The Twilight Zone Stoney Burke (1963), Dr. Kildare (1963), Going My Way (1963), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1963), The Addams Family (1964–1965), Gunsmoke (1965–1970), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965 and 1967), The Wild Wild West, The Monkees, The Flying Nun, Tet Smart, Hogan's Heroes, as one of The Penguin's henchmen in two episodes of Batman, two episodes of The Bionic Woman (1976), and two episodes of The Golden Girls (1988-1989). He played Geppetto in "Geppetto's Workshop" in the 1980s.
The actor appeared in hundreds of film and television roles, including the train engineer in Von Ryan's Express, Nazorine in The Godfather (1972), as Vittorio in Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981), and most notably as the scene-stealing cook in How Sweet It Is! (1968). In the pivotal scene, Scotti grabs a flustered Debbie Reynolds and plants a kiss on her midriff.
Scotti had a minor role as an Italian Train Driver in Von Ryan's Express (1965). He portrayed Colonel Enrico Ferrucci in The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968). And later appeared in the Academy Award-winning comedy Cactus Flower (1969), as Señor Arturo Sánchez, who unsuccessfully tries to seduce Ingrid Bergman's character.
He voiced the Italian Cat in the Walt Disney animated film The Aristocats, and appeared with Lindsay Wagner on her television special, Another Side of Me (1977). His last screen performance was as the manager at Vesuvios in 1995 in the box-office smash comedy, Get Shorty.
Death[edit | edit source]
Scotti died of lung cancer at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California on June 5, 1996. He was interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, along with his first wife Irene, in the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Light, G-4, crypt 1253. Vito Scotti was survived by his daughter Carmen Scozzari (who today works for the LAUSD as a special education assistant in the West San Fernando Valley), his son Ricardo, a brother Jerry, and his widow, Beverly.
References[edit | edit source]
- "GE True". Classic Television Archive. http://ctva.biz/US/Anthology/GeneralElectricTrue.htm. Retrieved March 1, 2013.